I bookmarked these burger buns as soon as I saw them on the Smitten Kitchen blog but hadn’t gotten around to making them when I spotted the recipe yet again on Annie’s Eats, another favorite website. Annie gave her post a different title—“The Perfect Burger Bun.” Well, that was enough to set aside my self-imposed ban on indulging in starch carbs! If I’m going to “sin” and eat bread products, it’s got to be a “perfect” recipe.
The timing was perfect as well since I was expecting several young adults for a meal of pulled pork sandwiches which are a family favorite. Since I didn’t double the recipe, I bought a bag of ordinary hamburger buns from the supermarket. I knew that the two young men who were coming would eat more than one sandwich, and it was a good opportunity to have a taste test. As the saying goes, I’ll give you three guesses as to which bun was preferred—and the last two guesses don’t count!
The original New York Times article recommends that you lightly toast the buns on the grill and Smitten Kitchen and I concur. For a special BBQ, try these special buns!
One year ago: BBQ Sauce
Two years ago: Spinach and Ricotta Pizza
Light Brioche Burger Buns
Ingredients for Buns
- 3 tbl. warm milk
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tsp. instant yeast
- 2 1/2 tbl. sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 1/2 tbl. unsalted butter, softened
Ingredients for topping
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water, for egg wash
- Sesame seeds
In order to assuage my paranoid fears that any yeast I use may not be active, I always combine the yeast, warm water (approx. 110o F), and sugar in a measuring cup before going any further with a recipe. After 5 to 10 minutes, if your yeast is good, you will see a beige foam bubble up over the surface. Then you’re good to go!
So, take out a 2-cup measuring cup (or bowl if you prefer), and combine the warm milk, warm water (not too hot—or you will kill the yeast), instant yeast, and sugar. Let it sit until you see foam rising on the surface. Once the foam has risen and you know the yeast is active, pour the liquid ingredients into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Beat one egg in a separate bowl; add to the liquid ingredients and mix briefly to combine.
In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs (I used a pastry cutter to form crumbs). Add the flours to the bowl, and mix until incorporated. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for about 2-4 minutes. The dough will be very tacky, but you want to avoid adding too much extra flour which will create tough buns.
Using a dough scraper, scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter or large cutting board and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes. The dough will be on the sticky side so it can be a bit messy, but keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will get. Try to leave them tackier than you would a round loaf. You may need to use your dough scraper to scoop up the dough to turn it over as you knead it. I found the dough scraper was my best friend in doing this!
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Using a dough scraper, divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each portion of dough into a ball and place on the baking sheet, 2-3 inches apart. Cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise again, 1-2 hours, until puffed up and nearly doubled. Note: Just as Annie indicated in her post, my buns rose very quickly and almost formed one giant mass. I used my trust dough scraper to separate each bun, and I reshaped the buns into 8 balls that fit quite nicely on the sheet.
Set a large metal pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F with a rack in the center. Brush the tops of the buns lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake the buns about 15 minutes rotating halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.